One Month Home

Little Beau has been home for nearly a month now. We are still adjusting to the new dynamics of a family of six, but, overall, things are going very well.

Beau is a sweet baby, and although he is my youngest, he is my biggest baby by a landslide! At 5 months old, Beau is tipping the scales at 17 pounds and already scooting around our living room floor!

We are in the “cocooning phase” with Beau. I knew Beau’s adoption was different than our other adoptions but I didn’t exactly know how until I started researching by talking to other adoptive moms and professionals.

Beau has had multiple caregivers in his short life that he has seen come and then go. Over and over again. I thought surely we were in the clear considering Beau had been cared for and never abused, but then I was told that it’s not just about care but about security in WHO. All Beau knows is that things change and caregivers change. He doesn’t know how to trust yet. He truly doesn’t understand that we will come back.

Attachment issues happen due to disruptions in bonding. If Beau never gets the chance to bond without worry that we will disappear too, he can’t learn to trust.

To give Beau the opportunity to learn to trust that we won’t disappear too, we have to be there and allow no disruption in OUR care for him. This is where cocooning comes in to play.  We are keeping Beau’s world very small, predictable and simple, and, for now, we are doing all of Beau’s care.

The time period for all of this is a bit foggy to me as I have heard a variety of recommendations. So, we are cocooning for at least 10 weeks because that will be double the amount of time Beau has ever had the same caregiver and then we will reevaluate after that time period.

We were told to expect Beau to be fussy the first couple of weeks he was home, but we have not seen any of that at all over the past 4 weeks he has been home. Some have told me he is in a “honeymoon phase” and others have told me that our home environment is so ideal for babies and children that Beau is truly at peace.

This is new territory to me. I feel somewhat like I did when Little Bug was born and I was having to learn about how to best care for a baby exposed to substances in the womb. That was scary learning, but I know God guided me every step of the way as I cared for Little Bug and then Sweet Pea and Sarge. As I now navigate this path, He is there leading me again. Of that I am certain.

He hadn’t been home an hour and once his foster mother left, I held him where I could look into his eyes and I told him, “Beau, you are home now. You aren’t going anywhere else. I am your Mommy.” I have told him that every day since at least once a day, if not more, and I will continue to speak that truth into his little heart every day.

A friend from church gave me this double-stroller this summer and it has come in handy so many times already. The boys love going on walks in the neighborhood in their stroller while the girls are riding their bikes.

I need Dave to write the next post for Through the Lens of Grace and then I should be able to get back to finishing writing this story!

 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I won’t be able to finish writing Through the Lens of Grace by the end of this month as I had hoped because….God has written another chapter!

December 7th we got a phone call from our adoption agency about this little guy. The next 9 days saw his mother signing her consent to terminate her parental rights, us meeting this woman, a court hearing to put a motion to intervene in his case (he was in the state’s care) and then another hearing where the Judge ruled that it is in the best interest of this baby to be placed in our family. He came home on December 17th, eight days before Christmas!

Once again, our lives have been uprooted with the sudden and quick addition of another child into our family, but we are confident that God orchestrated everything to bring this child to our family and He will give us what we need to meet his needs. He was born the day the adoption from this past summer officially failed. God is a Redeeming God and we trust Him to redeem the brokenness he has already experienced in his short life and we give God all the glory for what He has done and will continue to do!

Blog Name & Prayers Needed

I wrote all the names on our white board.DSC03684

You will notice some that were not on the comments of the other post. Those came to me through text messages.

Dave & Little Bug voted for Cowboy while Sweet Pea & I voted for Beau.

Then, Sarge was the tie breaker. I laid out the vanilla toy ice cream cone (Beau) and the strawberry toy ice cream cone (Cowboy) and told him to get one.

He picked vanilla!

(This was my attempt to chase him down and get a picture of him with the vanilla ice cream)DSC03688

So Baby 4’s blog name will be…

BEAU!!!!

A dear friend text me the idea of “Beau”. It stands for Beauty because God has taken ashes and made beauty in more ways than one during this journey.

Please step up your prayers for us this coming week and pray for a peaceful process.

I will be back with an update as soon as I can.

This is the baby doll I bought when we were waiting for Sweet Pea. I would tell Little Bug I had to “feed the baby”, “change the baby” to get her used to the idea that I would have to care for the baby as well as her. I brought it out again last week and started doing the same with Sarge. This boy is a big Mama’s boy and he isn’t so sure about this baby doll, although he loves to crawl up in the chair with me while I am “feeding” the doll. Then he proceeds to stick his little finger in the doll’s nose and eyes. That’s a promising interaction right there!

DSC03710

I keep referring to this baby doll as “his baby”. Even at under two years old, I want him to know Baby Beau will be our baby to love and hold.

The Day I Fell In Love {with my boy}

After Sarge was born a friend asked me out of pure curiosity how I bond with babies that are not born of my womb. I told her one day I would blog about it. Sarge is one, so I figured this would be as good a day as any to publish this.

Bonding with my son was very different from bonding with my daughters. His adoption was completely different than their adoptions and I think that had something to do with it.

I broke one of my Adoption Rules with my son.

It is a very, very odd situation to be in when you are at the hospital for your child’s birth….except they aren’t your child – yet.

The first time I had to dance this dance, I was extremely guarded. Little Bug, my firstborn baby, was finally here! I could see her; I could hold her. Her birth mother wanted me there for her birth. That is one of the greatest gifts anyone on this planet has ever given me. I saw her slip into this world by the skin of my teeth because I had this feeling she was coming – NOW! – and I was walking in the hospital hallway towards her birth mother’s birthing room and I just took off running even though the nurses were yelling at me to walk.

Ignoring the nurses, I kept right on running (because I was NOT going to miss her birth) and entered the delivery room at the precise time my daughter was entering this world.

09785 - 100_4610

I stood by the nurse as she cleaned Little Bug off. Little Bug wrapped her hand around my finger. The nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her. Of course I did, but I told her no, I could not hold her then because her birth mom wanted to hold her first and then she wanted to “hand her over to her Mama”. Tracy held Little Bug; Tracy’s mama held Little Bug and then, like Tracy wanted, Little Bug was then placed in her Mama’s arms, my arms.

09796 - 100_4621

Except I had no parental rights to her yet. For a moment, as I held that sweet, tiny 5 lb baby girl in my arms, I let myself get lost in the fact that I was finally, finally holding my daughter. Like any Mama who has just given birth, I admired her from head to toe.

But then, I had to snap back to reality. This was not my baby – yet. Sure her birth mother had chosen us to be her parents. But there were still 48 hours (that for us would morph into 81 hours) to go before her birth mother could put action to her words and actually terminate her rights, giving me those rights forever and ever.

Those 81 hours were pure agony.

Five years later I found myself at a hospital NICU two and a half hours away from home, standing beside the bedside of a little baby boy that was to become my son.

DSC00325

Besides the trauma that I experienced from seeing a baby in his condition (he nearly died at birth), I had another 48 hour wait ahead of me.

The day after his birth, his birth mother and I went to his bedside in the NICU together. Being there with her was already very special to me because I had not experienced anything like that when Little Bug was born.

Sarge was on a ventilator so his birth mom nor myself had held him yet. I was not expecting to be able to hold him any time soon because he was so sick.

The nurse surprised us and asked if we wanted to hold him. Of course we said yes!

Tracy looked at me at this point and said, “Elaine, I held Little Bug first. I want you to hold Sarge first.” I was blown away by this. She had carried this baby for 8 months and given birth to him; she had every right to hold him first, yet she wanted me to hold him first.

Then the nurse explained to us that only one of us would be able to hold him because moving him from person to person was too much for him at that time. It only felt right that Tracy be the one to hold him but she was adamant that I was going to hold him first.

Minutes later my son was placed in my arms, with his birth mother standing by, watching and snapping pictures.

DSC00333

I know Tracy. As much as it meant to me to be able to hold him in that moment, she was equally moved at being able to witness me holding her son for the very first time.

In that moment, I fell in love with that baby boy and Tracy watched it happen. There was still over 24 hours left until Tracy could sign her consent, but, in my heart, I had crossed the line already.

I had broken my #1 Adoption Rule. I had fallen in love with the baby before TPR (termination of parental rights).

I could literally feel the rush of whatever it was wash over me. Not only was I guarded because TPR had not been signed yet, but I was guarded because he was so sick and I didn’t know if he was going to make it. In that moment, though, he became my son and I was going to fight tooth and nail for his recovery.

I had never in my life seen a baby so sick. It scared me. At this point, we didn’t know what exactly his health concerns were. Because I had no legal rights to him, the nurses couldn’t tell me much of anything. All I had to go on was how he looked and….he looked horrible….and lifeless.

DSC00326

I remember standing over him as he lay in his hospital bed and I asked the nurse, “Is he going to be okay?” To this day I cannot for the life of me remember what she told me. I only know whatever she said gave me a glimmer of hope that he could pull through and be okay.

Even though a baby at this time in my life was the farthest thing on my mind, it was not lost on me that God had called me to come to this baby’s bedside.

And there I was. And NOTHING was going to keep me away from him now.

How God had called us to this place was mindboggling (a story I will eventually share when the time is right) and for a couple weeks, we sat by and watched God fight a battle before our eyes as we simply waited for His call to GO.

Two and a half days after Sarge’s birth Tracy signed over her parental rights to us and when we got the official news I sat in the car where we were waiting for the news and simply cried, in awe, at what God had done. After I had dried my tears, we snapped this photo:

IMG_0839

It was an overwhelming experience to know that God had parted the Red Sea to place this baby boy in my arms. Where I had been exactly 7 months to the hour of Sarge’s birth (also another story for another time) and where I was now didn’t add up. It didn’t make sense, but with God’s redemption and power, all things are possible and there we were.

DSC00335

We had a third child; our first son!

When I look at my newborn babies, it doesn’t even cross my mind that I didn’t carry them in my womb or give birth to them.

They are simply my children as if I had given birth to them.

In an instant, I became Sarge’s advocate and I instinctively knew exactly what he needed. NAS babies are very scary to care for. I didn’t know if I had it in me to do this again, but God had clearly called me to his bedside and I had to trust He was going to give me what I needed to take care of him.

What came next was a very difficult 4-week NICU stay and witnessing an innocent baby go through the physical pain of drug withdrawal. My plan for August and September of last year was to get our homeschool year started. Sitting in a NICU 2.5 hours away from my daughters was a complete 180 from my plans for that Fall!

But when God calls, He also equips. I jumped into my new role as mother and advocate for this baby, my son, with my whole heart. Even to the point that I had to emotionally disconnect myself from my girls because thinking of being away from them for an indefinite amount of time was too painful. It was easier to just put my full attention on the here and now.

And the here and now was taking care of my new son. I knew my girls were being well taken care of back home by my parents and my place on this earth at that time was there in the NICU with this baby boy.

DSC00373

I wanted more than anything to give him a “safe womb” to dwell in. He was born at 36 weeks, so technically, he could have been in the womb another 4-6 weeks. His body was so bruised and battered from his traumatic entry into this world. I had an overwhelming desire to shelter him from any harm. If I could have found a way to put him in my womb, I would have. Obviously I couldn’t do that and I decided I was going to do Kangaroo Care with him as much as possible.

DSC00391

My daily routine became waking up and walking from the Ronald McDonald house to the NICU. I would pee right before going in (because there are no bathrooms for parents in NICUs) and then I would do Kangaroo Care with Sarge until it was time for me to go eat lunch. When I would have to leave him to go eat, I felt an emptiness and ached to have him back in my arms. After lunch, I was right back with him doing Kangaroo Care until dinner time. This was my routine for the first week or more. I couldn’t take his withdrawals away but I could hold him and keep him calm. I would breath a certain way with him laying on my chest and it would calm him to where he would fall asleep and stay there for hours.

The entire time I was in the NICU with Sarge was absolutely surreal. My whole life had suddenly changed in a matter of just a few short days. Even I was amazed at how my motherly instincts with Sarge just flipped on like a switch, from the very beginning. Sure, this was my 3rd time caring for an NAS baby, so I had some experience on my side, but ultimately, I know my instincts were of the Lord. It blows my mind how my mind went from being totally consumed with getting our homeschool year off the ground to being an advocate for this baby boy, all within just a few days!

 DSC00338

Sarge was being fed 60cc’s every 3 hours, around the clock. He was not able to drink from a bottle at this point so he was being fed through an NG tube. There came a time when I knew he was being fed too much. After his feed, his stomach would be so full and he began to seem extremely uncomfortable after his feedings. I asked the nurses to stop feeding him that much but they could not change his feedings without doctor’s orders. So I got my speech ready for the next time the doctor made her rounds about why I felt like Sarge needed to be fed 45cc’s every 2-3 hours. After I spoke with the doctor, she told me that I know my baby best and she would just have to calculate that and make sure he was getting enough calories on that feeding schedule. She came back and told me she had changed his feeding orders to 45-60cc’s every 2-3 hours. After that change, his belly didn’t extend so big and he didn’t seem as uncomfortable as before.

DSC00388

At about a week old, Sarge began having morphine around the clock to help with the pain of withdrawal. When it came time to start weaning him from the morphine, I believe his morphine was weaned too quickly. He was inconsolable and in so much pain. It was heartbreaking to watch and even more heartbreaking to not be able to do anything to calm him down. Kangaroo Care couldn’t even calm him. I told the nurse I did not want him to be weaned that quickly again. I wanted at least 48 hours before morphine was decreased again. Sure, it delayed our discharge day, but the withdrawal process can not be hurried. Sarge needed 48 hours between decreased morphine dosages. Again, I prepared my speech to the doctor, and again, she listened to me, told me I know what is best for my son, and she agreed to put 48 hours between decreased morphine dosages. From that point on, the process of getting him off morphine was much smoother (although not a walk in the park because withdrawal is no walk in the park no matter how you go about it). 

In both of these situations I was extremely frustrated because I just wanted to do what was best for Sarge. Each time I would ask the Lord what he needed and both times the Lord graciously made me feel strongly what needed to be done differently. He gave me the words to explain to the doctor what I wanted to see changed and both times I saw direct positive results from the changes I knew needed to happen.

That baby didn’t come from my womb, but I was as much his mother as if he had been born from me. Genetics don’t matter in bonding with a baby. What matters is God called me to adopt this baby and He gave me everything I needed to be his mother. I have no biological children but I can’t imagine taking care of Sarge any differently than I would have taken care of a biological child.

My bond with Sarge was immediate and extremely strong from the very beginning. I think part of it was knowing I was all he had in the world. He was so pitiful, innocent and so very sick. My instincts to love him and nurture him to health kicked in in overdrive. Another huge part was the Kangaroo Care I did with him constantly that first week or so.

DSC00385

I was once that woman wondering if an adopted child would feel like my own. If my heart loved my children any more, it would have to explode. The human heart is capable of loving more than we are aware. Opening your heart to someone who is “not your own” and taking them as your own is the greatest expression of love. God loves us so much that He has adopted us into His family. We are His children and we have access to all of His riches. Adopting a child is a picture of God’s adoption of us into His Kingdom!

When we set out to build our family, adoption was no where in our plans. Today, 8 years later, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for my journey through adoption. It is a journey that will rip your heart out a million times but it is a journey that I would not trade for anything in the entire world.

If God is calling you to adopt a child, just do it. You will never be financially ready but I can assure you if God is calling and you answer His call with a YES, your mind will be blown away at the way He provides and makes a way for you to bring your child home.

DSC00334

In my mother’s womb

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalms 139:13

I have read this Bible verse probably over a thousand times and it has always been one of my favorites.

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

In my mother’s womb.

Mother’s womb.

Since becoming a mother, I see this verse in a new light. I wonder what my children will think when they read this verse.

I am their mother but they were not knit together in my womb.

This verse shows God’s original plan did not include adoption. This verse doesn’t say you knit me together in my mother, or birth mother’s, womb.

It simply says God knit us together in our mother’s womb.

Maybe I am over-analyzing, but I wonder what thoughts will run through Little Bug, Sweet Pea and Sarge’s minds when they are old enough to read this verse and really think about it.

I’ve often wondered when my children will realize that their birth mothers could have been their mothers.

Side note: We don’t tell our children they have two mothers. They have one mother and that is me. I know some families, especially families with an open adoption, tend to tell their child that they have two mothers. When Dave and I discussed this topic when Little Bug was just an infant, we decided that we felt telling our children they have two mothers could possibly cause confusion. The role of mother in a child’s life is reserved for one person – their mother. We felt like telling them they have two mothers would open the door for insecurity in their little world. Tracy, Little Bug’s birth mother, made it very clear even before Little Bug was born that I was her mother. She would get mad at the hospital when they were asking her questions that the legal parent had to answer. She wanted me to answer because, after all, I was the mother. (If you have a differing perspective on this, I am not attacking that at all. I am certain there are adoption situations where telling the child they have two mothers has caused absolutely no insecurity issues within the child whatsoever. Each adoption situation is unique.)

One day my children are going to realize that because they were born to their birth mother’s, technically, they should have been their mothers.

And…maybe that verse doesn’t include birth mothers because adoption wasn’t God’s original plan.

If we go back to the beginning of time, when God created the world and everything in it, He created male and female in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply. That was God’s perfect plan for creation. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around such a perfect world because we live in such an imperfect world.

A world where circumstances are such that a woman can’t parent her child or she makes the very difficult decision not to parent her child.

It does not scare me to “talk adoption” with my children. I don’t force them to talk about their adoptions and at this point, their adoptions are not talked about frequently at all. When we do talk about their adoptions, it is on their terms, and the conversation is as normal as if we were talking about My Little Ponies or mud pies.

When they are old enough to start thinking about Psalm 139:13 and they ask me why the Bible didn’t say they were knit together in their birth mothers wombs, I will speak the Truth to them, as I always do.

I will say…..Tracy was your mother. You were created and knit together in Tracy’s womb and had she not chosen adoption for you, Tracy would have been your mother. But Tracy knew she couldn’t be your mother – not in the ways that she knew you needed a mother. So she searched for someone who could be your mother – and she found…me!  (And I could tell a very similar story to both Sweet Pea and Sarge.)

I never want to be viewed as rescuing my children. I didn’t rescue them. I was seeking a pregnancy at the same time Little Bug was being knit together in her mother’s womb. Both of our lives – mine and Tracy’s – were a mess and at the root for both of us was sin.

My body wasn’t in perfect working order to be able to do what God created it to do – sustain growing life for nine months – because when sin entered the world, disease entered the world. I didn’t know it at the time but I had endometriosis, a disease of the reproductive system.

Tracy’s life was in a place where, for reasons I won’t go into on here, she couldn’t raise the child God had placed in her womb as her daughter.

Two events that could have ended tragically. If it was left to my body to produce my children, I would still be childless. If Tracy hadn’t had the option of adoption, her child’s life may have ended before it had even begun or her child would be trapped in the same generational sin.

God didn’t give up on His creation when sin entered the world. Instead, He made a way to bridge the gap between us and Himself after sin had separated us from God. That bridge was Jesus Christ as He came to the world to pay for all of mankind’s sin when He, perfect and sinless, gave His life to pay for our sins and make a way for us back to God.

Our God is a God of Redemption. His thread of Redemption can be seen woven into every thing, from the beginning of time. The Bible is filled with story upon story of God’s Redemptive love upon His people.

And it hasn’t stopped Present Day.

God’s redemptive love allowed Tracy and me to find each other. His original plan did not include infertility and what Tracy deals with day-to-day, but God, as only He can do, has made some beauty from ashes.

There is always grief and a sense of loss in adoption. As my children get older, I don’t know what emotions may rise within them as they comprehend their stories, but I always pray they will all be able to see the beauty through the ashes of their stories.

Operation Make Sarge a Bedroom

Operation Make Sarge a Bedroom has begun!!!

Sarge has had little corners in our home to call his own since he got home, which is fine, but I am so ready for this baby boy to have his own room and I am so excited to make a little boy nursery!

Last week we started the room shuffle. Our house has four bedrooms. The master bedroom, my brother’s bedroom and then the girls each had a bedroom. The original plan was for the girls to share a bedroom, but the more I thought about that, the more I was concerned that the girls’ sleep would drastically decline if they were expected to sleep in the same room. With the stress that our family is already under, I did not want to add to it unnecessarily because there was another option.

We decided to move our Homeschool Room to the Playroom and make what was our Homeschool Room be Little Bug’s room! With the girls not sharing a room, we had to give up having a playroom. This wasn’t a big deal at all because we have decreased the number of toys we have so our playroom didn’t have much in it anyway. Now, Little Bug’s room will serve as her bedroom/playroom as most of the toys that were in the playroom are now in her bedroom.

Last week we started moving everything around in the house. (I just tried not to look at the chaos knowing it was necessary to make the house organized eventually!)

With the help of my very good friend (who also happens to be my sister-in-law), we painted Little Bug’s old room blue today for Sarge!

DSC01471

I love the color and I can’t wait to put this baby boy nursery together!

To decorate Sarge’s nursery, I am using these colors: baby blue (walls), dark blue, green and red.

I wanted the walls to be a baby blue color. When we found out about Sarge donations of baby items poured in. I was given a stripped white and dark blue crib sheet. We did purchase a cube organizer to have something to organize Sarge’s stuff in. The green cube organizers were on clearance, so I decided right then his accent color for his nursery would be dark blue and green!

DSC00917

I received an adorable red car picture frame and decided another accent color would be red. I am planning on buying the letters of his name and painting the letters dark blue, green and red. For just throwing something together based on what I already had and what I had been given, I think his nursery is going to be very cute and I can’t wait to see it all put together!

Once it is all put together I will share some pictures! It’s still surreal I am making a baby boy nursery….but I am so excited to be doing so!

Norwex Party Extending to Friday!

This is just a quick post to say the Norwex Party is going to stay open until Friday, November 21st!

DSC01046

There have been 9 orders placed so far! If there are 6 more orders there will be a 3rd drawing for a Giveaway!

30% of all purchases made via this Norwex Party will go to paying for Sarge’s adoption.

Join the Facebook group for the party to learn more or click here to learn more!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Update on Sarge

First of all, thank you for the words of encouragement after my last post. Writing about it all helped me so much. Telling our story Saturday night helped, too. I was really nervous about talking but at the same time, I was so ready to talk. Telling our story helps me keep the Big Picture of what God is doing. When you are stuck in the middle of hard circumstances, it is so easy to feel like you will be stuck there forever!

That’s how I’ve been feeling. It’s been very hard to see past where we are right now. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt our circumstances won’t stay this difficult and this challenging forever.

No season in life lasts forever. Time moves us all along and where we are today is not where we will be a year from now or even 6 months from now.

Sarge is now 12 weeks old! His adjusted age (from his due date) is 8 weeks old. Last night, for the very first time, Sarge slept from 11:30pm to almost 7am! I woke up this morning to his soft cries over the baby monitor, realized it was already light outside and immediately was trying to recall in my mind how the night went. How long was I up for with him? What time did he wake to eat? Suddenly, it dawned on me that he had not woken at all until just before 7am! I jumped out of bed and ran to check on him to make sure all was okay.

I am not getting my hopes up that this will be the norm from here on out. I fully expect more middle of the night feedings to be in my future, but this was a small victory that gives me BIG hope that he is slowly showing improvements.

When I think about his pain level now to eight weeks ago when we arrived home with him, there is definite improvement! There was a time when he would cry in pain through nearly every single bottle. There was a time when he would writh in pain after every single feeding. While he still has times of pain, he also has times of peace! I know, slowly, over time, his times of pain will be taken over by times of peace as his body continues to grow, mature and heal.

Sarge had his appointment with the GI doctor last week on Thursday. I went knowing what the doctor was going to say. I knew he was going to tell me exactly what he told me when I took Sweet Pea three years ago! I wanted to take Sarge so I could know in my mind there was nothing physically wrong with him and, like we had had to do with Sweet Pea, we were just going to have to ride this out with him and give his body time to heal from the drug exposure.

When the GI learned what he had been exposed to he said, “Oh yes, that does a number to a baby’s nervous and digestive system.” And then he told me what I expected to hear: His body needs time to grow, heal and mature. He did say it would not hurt at all to do an ultrasound on Sarge’s abdomen to check him physically. That was my number one concern. Because his pain is so much more intense than Sweet Pea’s pain was and because Sarge had the closed anus at birth, I wanted to know there was not something structurally wrong with Sarge’s digestive system. The GI doctor said that because Sarge is “gaining weight beautifully” (despite the fact he is not yet on the growth chart!) there is almost certainly nothing wrong physically, but we can do the ultrasound anyway. We are also going to send a stool sample for testing to see if there are any abnormalities there.

Beyond that, it is just time. Time is Sarge’s best friend.

I asked for an estimate on how much time before Sarge is more like a “normal baby”. He said to expect things to take longer with Sarge than they did with Sweet Pea simply because Sarge is a boy and boys mature slower than girls. He said by the time Sarge is walking, all of this should be behind us. I think we will see much improvement by the time he is sitting up…which seems light years away.

In all actuality I know it isn’t light years away and instead is months away. We will get there, day by day, week by week, month by month, until one day we will realize “We made it!”.

And then we will be dealing with a baby that gets into everything. I look forward to those days! They will come!

I am really struggling.

This is going to be a very open and honest post. One that I have wanted to write for a while but have hesitated for fear of backlash and judgment.

I’ve never hesitated to share what is on my mind in the past, so why start now?

I am really struggling.

I have been fearful to say that because, after all, this blog began when I was a barren woman desperately desiring motherhood, not knowing if I would ever get the privilege of having a baby in my arms to call my own.

And now I have three children. And I am miserable.

This has nothing to do with me being ungrateful for the blessings God has given me and instead has EVERYTHING to do with me being mad that MY PLANS were interrupted.

I can’t tell you how many times people have said something along the lines of “You are a saint for adopting these drug babies.”

It makes me want to scream.

I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!

Dave and I did everything in our power to make sure Sarge was going to be placed in a loving, Christian home when we said no to adopting him back in March. We had a plan in place and I was absolutely thrilled with that plan.

Only problem was IT WASN’T GOD’S PLAN.

That’s a pretty big problem. Because God’s plans prevail. Always. It says it right there in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

That verse summarizes to a T Sarge’s adoption.

My journey through infertility has taught me many things but quite possibly the most important thing it has taught me is that God has called me to live a life surrendered to Him.

This means, when I have made a plan – a plan that seems absolutely perfect – and then God steps in and calls me to do something completely different from what my plan is, I SAY YES whether I want to or not.

Why?

Because I know God’s plans are good and perfect and He can see the big picture whereas I cannot. His ways are higher than my own ways and He promises that His plans for our lives are good and perfect, plans that will prosper us and not harm us, plans that bring us hope and a future.

How can I say no to that?

Saying YES to God is NEVER easy.

Saying YES to God does not mean life will be absolutely perfect and enjoyable. The opposite is in fact true. Saying YES to God stretches you in ways you didn’t know were possible and it forces you to lay down your own plans, dreams, desires and surrender to God’s Plan.

That is not easy.

Prior to August, life was good. You could read that as “life was easy”. We had been through the fire in the early parts of the year but all of that had settled and our family was probably in the best place it’s ever been in our 7 years of marriage! Our daughters were five and three years old. We were moving out of the baby/toddler phase and looking forward to our first official year of homeschooling. I had spent nearly the entire summer pouring over curriculums to find the best fits for Little Bug’s Kindergarten year. I had reorganized our homeschool room, gone to the Homeschool Convention to purchase our curriculum choices and then I had come home and had fun organizing it all and getting it prepared for our First Day of School. I was immensely looking forward to the beginning of the school year. I was looking forward to having the freedom of getting out with the girls more this year than we had ever done before because there were no babies in our mix – no one needing a morning nap and older children who could be more flexible all the way around with their sleep schedules. I saw many days ahead of just simply enjoying life with my little girls.

I didn’t necessarily feel our family was complete, but adding a newborn to our family now was the farthest thing from my mind.

Then I got the phone call that changed everything on August 5th.

The moment that phone conversation ended…I knew it. God was moving to place this baby with us. I was scared out of my mind as I approached Dave to see if he was sensing the same thing. And I was still groping for any way possible to see if my plan could still possibly play out. Surely God wasn’t trying to place a baby in our family now!

We all know what happened from there. Eighteen days later Dave and I were driving through the middle of the night to a hospital not knowing what to expect when we arrived.

It was the triage receptionist that told us in the most anti-climatic way that the baby had been born. I was expecting to sit with the birth mom during labor, but that was not to be.

When we learned the baby was born and the friend of the birth mom was on the way to greet us, I turned to Dave in astonishment and said, “This is really happening. We have a son.”

From the moment we received that phone call on August 5th, life has been nothing but a constant whirlwind. And it has yet to stop three months later.

Before I go on, let me clear the air and say that Sarge is 100% my son. I could not imagine life without him now! I love him with my entire heart like I love his big sisters. He is the sweetest little baby boy I have ever laid eyes on.

All that doesn’t mean I can’t struggle through this! Because right now, life is a struggle. Every single day. Every single moment of every single day…..it’s a struggle as we get through the worst of the effects of the drugs on his tiny little body.

Life as I knew it was stripped away. I went from thinking life was going to be one way to life being totally and completely different. Instead of spending my days with my girls every day, I am shipping one off to preschool so we can have some measure of sanity around the house at least three days a week. And then I am trying to keep the other child on some sort of a homeschooling routine while keeping Sarge as comfortable as possible.

And don’t think for one moment I am managing this all on my own! When was the last time I took care of all three of my children by myself all day long?

NEVER. I have never been on my own taking care of all my children. I HAVE to have help. Every day. My mom told me upfront “You are my ministry right now. Let me know how I can help.” She is at my house every day around 8am to help me manage the needs of my three children because, right now, with Sarge’s special needs and health issues, it is impossible for me to manage everything and everyone in my home right now.

And, this, blog world, is what is about to drive me INSANE!

It is not that I see my mom every day. We have a wonderful relationship and if not for my mom, I probably would have run away by now or collapsed from pure exhaustion or….who knows where I would be?

Even still….it drives me insane that I can’t do it all – yet. I love my job as stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom. I absolutely love it. Sure there were difficult days with just the two girls but ultimately it it MY calling in life and I wouldn’t do anything else at this stage of my life. I just want to get to a place where I can manage my home again all by myself!

I take great pride in being the manager of my home. And that has all been stripped away from me and I guess you could say I am grasping for some sense of normalcy to come back to me…but we just aren’t there yet and probably won’t be for some time still.

It’s not that I am killing myself trying to keep a pristine clean home. I gave that up 3.2 hours after being home with three kids. The girls still have to clean up after themselves for the most part throughout the day as they play, but after everyone is in bed and Dave is feeding Sarge around 7:30/8pm, it is my new routine to go through the house and pick up/clean up whatever needs attention so we at least start fresh in the morning.

It’s that I can’t do it all! That I need Sweet Pea to go to preschool three days a week (this has been a very good experience for her – I am very glad she gets to go now), that Little Bug is about to lose her mind because we can’t get out of the house like we used to, that I am contemplating other schooling options for her just for this school year.

Everything has been thrown off in my plans and it is going to take a while for our family to once again feel “normal” again.

I am trying to keep the Big Picture here myself. I know God can see the Big Picture and He knows what He’s doing even though there have been many inward struggles within myself since we got home as I have asked God over and over again why my perfect plan wasn’t His plan. I feel like I am on the flip side. Why give us a 3rd child when there are people out there still waiting to adopt their 1st? My plan would have given a couple their first child. I don’t need an answer. I know that is just my finite mind thinking. God’s ways are higher than our own ways and He has a plan for every single one of His children.

I guess in writing all this and choosing to publish it, I am hoping you see my struggles for what they are. So many people who know our infertility story have said what great faith I have – and I do have great faith in Jesus Christ – but I want everyone to see the ugly side of having great faith in Jesus Christ.

It’s not easy. I struggle accepting God’s plan. I don’t just fall on my face before the Lord in complete surrender and say “Yes, Lord, do as you wish!” without struggling to accept God’s plan for my life sometimes. I have been angry with God through this. I’m probably still a little angry – but He is a patient God and like He always does, He is waiting on me to come around and see thing the way HE sees them.

This has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I am planning to start blogging about this year and the events that happened in January which ultimately tie into Sarge’s adoption. There is no doubt that God has done two miracles in our family this year. That doesn’t mean it’s happened without struggle on our part.

I am not sure I have adequately communicated what I wanted to say in this post, but I am publishing it anyway. I simply wanted to say surrendering to the call of God is NOT easy, but the rewards are great. When I push the constant craziness in my mind away and allow myself to see the circumstances of this year the way God seems them, my perspective totally changes.

God has done what He has done for HIS GLORY. And He will receive it. Much of what I’ve been feeling lately I know is spiritual warfare because on Saturday night Dave and I are publically speaking about this year for anyone who wants to hear. Satan doesn’t like this. Not one bit. Because what we are going to say brings glory to God.

Our story is one of repentance, forgiveness and redemption. There is no way to hear our story and not see God’s hand all over it. I think maybe part of my frustration might even be because, for now, I am being quiet about all that happened. Something very unexpected that came from this blog was a platform for me, quiet-little-Elaine to SPEAK boldly about what God has done in my life. Because what happened was so traumatic, I couldn’t speak at first. If the holidays were not approaching I would probably begin to tell the story now because I need to write about this, but I don’t want to make myself write during the holidays about something that was so traumatic. So that’s why I’ve chosen to begin writing in January. I miss writing frequently on this blog and sharing what God has done in my life and I have done very little of that in the year 2014.

I know God’s not going to leave me hanging in my current state of mind. We will push through this. Sarge’s little body will heal. I like to think of the future….when life settles down and Sarge becomes more of a normal infant and I can go on a walk in the neighborhood with my two little girls and baby boy.

I look forward to getting there. In time, I will.

In His perfect time, I will.

Because His faithfulness abounds and He will not leave me here forever.